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Share your product data with Google

To increase eligibility for richer appearances and on more surfaces across Google that can bring more relevant traffic to your site, share your ecommerce product data with Google. To take advantage of these benefits, Google recommends that you do the following:

Add product structured data to web pages

Where feasible, add structured data to your product pages. While structured data isn't required to appear in Google Search results, it can help Google understand your page better and display it as a rich result. For example:

  • Structured data increases eligibility for Product rich results.
  • Structured data can improve the accuracy of Google's understanding of content such as price, discount, and shipping costs on a page (this can also help the accuracy of Google Merchant Center verification of product feeds against your site).

Ready to start implementing? Check out Include structured data relevant to ecommerce for more information.

Google may at times use other approaches to extract data from pages. If you want to explicitly tell Google not to use content on a page to form a snippet, add a data-nosnippet attribute to that HTML element.

Upload data to Google Merchant Center

While uploading product data to Google Merchant Center isn't mandatory to appear in Google search results, it can enhance Google's understanding of your products. Participation in Google Merchant Center is mandatory for some Google surfaces, such as free listings in the Google Shopping tab.

For smaller sites that are updated less frequently, you can use an automated feed to build your product data from crawled web content (structured data can help improve the accuracy of data extraction). This approach can also be useful to get started with less effort.

For larger sites or sites with frequently changing content, periodically upload new data feed files to Google Merchant Center (or for immediate updates use the Content API). This gives you greater control over your data in Google. Benefits of uploading feed files include:

  • Increase confidence Google knows all of your products. Web crawling is not guaranteed to find all products on your site.
  • Gain greater control over the timing of updates. Google does not guarantee how long it takes before changes on your site will be processed through crawling. Feeds can be used for weekly, daily, or even hourly updates, at your time of choice. The Content API allows immediate content updates, which is particularly useful for stock level updates.
  • Share data that's not present on your website. You may decide some information is not appropriate to include on your web site, such as physical store level inventory data. Feeds and the Content API let you share this data with Google without it being present on your website.

Learn more about how to Sign up for Google Merchant Center.

How Google uses structured data and Google Merchant Center data

The following are examples of how Google uses structured data embedded in web pages and Google Merchant Center data for different experiences. Note that experiences may vary by country, device, and other factors.

ExperienceStructured DataGoogle Merchant Center
Product rich results in Google Search Google Search uses Product structured data to display product rich results. Google Search may use Google Merchant Center data to display product rich results.
Google Images results with product annotations Google Images uses Product structured data to display product annotations on images. Google Images uses images listed in Google Merchant Center.
Google Shopping tab (including free listings) Adding structured data can help Google Merchant Center in some cases (for example, during data verification). Participation in Google Merchant Center is required to appear in the Google Shopping tab.
Google Lens image search results Google Lens uses image structured data properties where available. Google Images uses images listed in Google Merchant Center.

Resolving update delay issues

When Google combines data from your website and Google Merchant Center feeds, it can lead to data inconsistency issues due to lag. For example, if a product sells out, your website would typically immediately mark it as unavailable for purchase, but Google Merchant Center may not be updated until some time later, especially if you're using feeds.

To avoid this potential conflict in pricing and stock availability data (a common cause of synchronization issues), tell Google Merchant Center to automatically update its copy of your product data based on the website contents, when such a discrepancy is noticed.

To learn more about how Googlebot and Google Merchant Center work together, see How to get your products into Search from the Search Central Lightning talk series.